Last night the Freshwater Parish Council invited Paul Blackley to be guest speaker at their Annual General meeting at Freshwater Memorial Hall. Paul showed the Councillors and members of the public a slideshow of images taken form the recent Exhibition at Dimbola Museum and Galleries and talked about how the Wight Surf History Project. With […]
Isle of Wight Surfing History goes back over many decades and in 2012 Wight Surf History put together an exhibition including images at Dimbola Museum and Galleries at Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight. The Exhibition closed with an amazing Jubilee party with live music from Sam Scadgell, Black House Crows and The Shutes. Here are […]
Both Wight Surf History Exhibition Prints are now displayed at The Waterfront Bar and Restaurant, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight. If you somehow missed the exhibitions previously then get yourself down to Totland Bay. It may not have great waves but it has to be one of the best places on the Island to enjoy […]
Apologies to Al for the lateness of this article. April saw the first in the series of the British Longboard events held in very tricky conditions down at Marine Drive, Woolacombe. With howling onshore winds and rain the contest started with 2-3ft waves but as the wind got stronger the waves gor really messed up. On the Sunday the wind dropped a little cleaning the waves up a bit. I spoke to Al after the evnt and he said ‘it was well windy but pretty fun. I won all my quater and semi heats but when it came to the final I just couldn’t find the waves, only got two in the whole heat and it wasn’t enough for a win this time. I’m gonna get into some training I think as that Matt Thomas is a gurt triathelete and I’m gonna need to be as fit as possible to beat him! Got some 8 point scores for the big roundhouse cutback in the photo sequence. that was in the earlier round though, could have done with it in the final.’
One of the biggest challenges putting the exhibition together was finding and collecting all the memorabilia from people. Surfboards that had been kept for 30-40 years were obviously things that were going to be items that had great sentimental value. When I rang Roger Cooper to see if he would be able to make the opeing night and he said he had his original Bilbo (the first board he ever bought) and that did I want it for the exhibition I was stoked.
On the Tuesday evening before the opening night Jon Hayward and myself were putting up the board rack when we suddenly realised as we were putting in Archie Trickets board that the ceiling was only just over 9′ high and there were beams above the rack. I didn’t know the size of Roger’s Bilbo so I made a quick phone call to him and it was 9’6″. We quickly decided that the only way to get it in was to mount it on a slant and we’d have to do a bit of guess work.
Rog, Jimi and Paul – photo by Jason Swain
Roger and Sandy arrived at Dimbola on Thursday morning and luckily we had allowed enough room for the board although it was a tight squeeze. Jason took a few pics of us with Rog’s board next to the Jimi Hendrix statue and while chatting Sandy said that her Grandfather painted the amazing painting of the 1970 Pop Festival that was up in Dimbola.
Sandy & Rog next to her Grandfathers painting
Everything else slowly slotted into place in time for the opening night and it was a great night. Thanks again to everyone for all the help and to everyone who came on the opening night.
Opening Night – photo by Gerhardt Potgieter
Many thanks for these great opening night Pics by Kimmi Piggott, Dimbola Museum and Galleries.
It may have been Friday the 13th but the opening night was a great success with Dimbola packed to capacity. Thank you to everyone who came along on the night and a huge thanks to Sam Scadgell for playing guitar and singing for us. If any of you have any more pics please send them in to me.
The ‘Wight Surf History’ Project opens its first exhibition of surf memorabilia and photography from the last 50 years at Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight on Saturday 14th April 2012 and runs for 10 weeks.
The exhibition will show how boards have changed through the decades, from Archie Tricket’s homemade wooden surfboard from the early 1960s, Bilbo longboards, the early shortboards and modern equipment, including surfboards from three-times Women’s English Champion Zoe Sheath and 2010 British Champion Johnny Fryer.
We also show how wetsuits have changed from the early ‘duck tail’ two-piece wetsuits to the warm winter wetsuits of today. Other items on display will include Trophies, leashes, wax, Isle of Wight Surf Club sweatshirts and magazines. The exhibition will also have photographs showing many of the characters who have influenced surfing on the Island over the last 50 years.
In the early 1960s, surfing was something a small number of friends had started to experiment with on the Isle of Wight. Many of these pioneers started out with belly boards, while some took to the water on homemade wooden surfboards.
There were small pockets of surfers scattered around the Island, all experimenting with surfing in their own ways, until Roger Backhouse and friends – Susan Ellis (Backhouse), Kevin Digweed, Geoff ‘Ned’ Gardner, John Ainsworth, Russell Long and Colin Burgess – decided to try and start an Isle of Wight Surf Club. An advert was put in the Isle of Wight County Press and this brought surfers together from around the Island, including Keith Williams, Glyn Kernick, Ben Kelly and Sid Pitman.
The first meetings of the Isle of Wight Surf Club were held in a tent on the cliff tops at Ventnor. They later moved to Mrs Backhouse’s (Roger’s Mum!) Bed & Breakfast in Ventnor. During the summer Pat Morrell and a ‘Woodwork Teacher’ Mike ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson would join them with their homemade wooden boards.
Once some club members had acquired wheels, it wasn’t long before trips to Cornwall were arranged and wages and savings were spent on the new fibreglass surfboards that were available. Rob Ward had come back to the Island after being in the Royal Navy and had learnt to surf in South Africa and South America. Rob’s surfing was more advanced than many of the island surfers, and in the 1970s, he travelled much of the globe in search of waves. Ex-British Surfing Champion Roger Mansfield and author of The Surfing Tribe once said ‘Rob is the most buccaneering, big wave-riding surf export of IOW’.
During the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Tad Ciastula and Roger Cooper had started shaping boards on the Island and both went on to become renowned surfboard shapers. Meanwhile, Derek Thompson started making the famous Cosmic leashes.
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, a young Dave Gray had started to dominate the Isle of Wight Surf Competitions and went on to compete in the English Nationals. Many of today’s top Island surfers will say that Dave was a major influence on them and they aspired to be as good as this Island legend. The Isle of Wight Surf Club started its own surf magazine in the late 1970s and many articles joked about other surfers not bothering to enter competitions if Dave turned up, as he only needed to wax down his surfboard to win an event!
In the early ‘90s, Stu Jones took over the mantle of best surfer on the Island, pushing the limits and starting a new generation of surfers who wanted to do aerials and the other latest tricks. In 1994, a young Craig Sharp took the South Coast Champion crown from Stu Jones and was one of many Islanders who took off in search of waves and adventure abroad. At the same time, 10-year-old Johnny Fryer was just making his mark by winning the Under-14 or ‘cadet’ category in the 1994 South Coast Championship.
Johnny dominated the Island surf scene until he moved to Cornwall, and he went on to become British Surfing Champion in 2010.
Into the Noughties, and young Zoe Sheath, daughter of Gail (an early member of the Isle of Wight Surf club, who started surfing in the ‘70s), began to shine. Zoe went on to become English Women’s Surfing Champion in 2007.
Many others have made a big contribution to Island surfing, including Barney Barnes, Ceri Williams, Keith and Steve Williams, Clive Richardson, Dave Phillips, Rog Powley, Xav Baker, Joe Truman and many, many more.
More recently, with the help of the Island-based Rapanui clothing company, the IOW Surf Club has been reborn, with Matt Harwood taking the helm alongside Oliver Harvey, as they successfully ran the Frost Bite Series of competitions in 2011 as well as the South Coast Surfing Championships.
The ‘Wight Surf History’ Project opens its first exhibition of surf memorabilia and photography from the last 50 years at Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight on Saturday 14th April 2012 and runs for 10 weeks. The exhibition will show how boards have changed through the decades, from Archie Tricket’s homemade wooden […]
Saturday 5th November at Saunton Sands, North Devon finally saw the 2011 British Longboard Club Championships take place. Alan Reed recently crowned British Masters Longboard Champion was there as part of the Masters team for the Hotdoggers Surf Club from Saunton North Devon. Al has been a member of the Hotdoggers club for over 10 years (Sadly the Island has yet to put a Longboard team together).
Each team member had to surf in a 25 minute heat with 12 teams competing from Scarborough , RN/RM , Bristol , Shore Surf Club, and the Hotdoggers. Al was up in the second heat and took 1st place in his heat helping the Masters team to 2nd place overall.
Sponsers of the event were; Second Skin, O`Neil, Cordural Lines, Dudleys , VW , BLU, Blacker Surfboards , Thatch , Errant Surf Travel. Indo Boards , Animal , North Core And Monster.
The Trophy presentation was at Cook Island, this was also the Hotdoggers End of Season Bash, 6.00pm til Midnight; a Carvery for only £6.50, a free bus from Barnstaple with pickups enroute returning at midnight, trophy presentations, raffle and DJ. Cook Island was just up the road from where I was staying so I dropped by for a quick pint and it looked like the Hotdoggers know how to through and end of season do.
While at the South Coast Surfing Championships at the weekend this trophy reappeared having not been seen since the early 90’s. On the trophy there are little shields listing all the previous winners going back to 1973. We would love to find out who the winners of the championship were prior to 1973 and obviously all the winners since. The last one on the trophy is Stuart Jones in 1991. I remember Craig Sharp winning it back in 1994 and Johnny Fryer was also a winner of the South Coast too. Please let me know if you have information of any others.
South Coast Surfing Championships
The Shore Surf Club
1973 – Eric Davies – Shore Surf Club
1974 – Roger Preston – Wessex Surf Club
1975 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1976 – Rodney Sumpter – Shore Surf Club
1977 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1978 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1979 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1982 – Paul Wiltsher – Shore Surf Club
1983 – Nick Schofield – Brighton Surf Club
1984 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1985 – Rob Vaughan – Harbour Surf Club
1986 – Nick castle – Wessex Surf Club
1987 – Brian Haugh – Shore Surf Club
1990 – Dereck Dear – Wessex Surf Club
1991 – Stuart Jones – Isle of Wight Surf Club
I also have come across a report from the 1994 South Coast Surfing Championships held here at Niton on the Isle of Wight and have copied it here.
South Coast Surf Competition
After being postponed twice because of the lack of competitors and then surf, the South Coast Surf Comp was finally held on the weekend of November 19 & 20. Surfers from the Island and mainland competed at Niton in a good size wave 2 – 6 foot, helped considerably by the S.W. 5 – 6 wind.
There were a total of 30 competitors, a small number having travelled from ‘over the water’. The competition categories were Longboard, Open and Junior. The Longboard and Open had 4 heats – 1st and 2nd placed surfers going straight into the semi finals – 3rd and 4th placed surfers going ino the repercharge. The Juniors had the semi final and then a final.
Open – The tide had dropped back considerably, and the waves were a good deal smaller than they had been earlier on when the semi’s were held. A close fought competition with the eventual winner being Craig Sharp, beating the 1991 South Coast winner Stuart Jones to second place. Third was Ross Williams and fourth Paul Blackley.
Longboard – Three mainland surfers – Matt Terry, Simon Wilkins and Eric Davies along with well known Island surfer (and surf club chairman) Ray Hutchings, made it to the final. Another close contest, the victor being 1st Matt Terry, 2nd Eric Davies, 3rd Simon Firley and 4th Ray Hutchings.
Junior – 1st Ross Williams, 2nd Craig Sharp, 3rd Nick Dennington, 4th Ian Wardle
Other category winners were Richard Balding – Junior Longboard, Johnny Fryer – Cadet, Nick Dennington – Youth, Master Longboard – Eric Davies.
The competition was sponsored by Sola, G & S clothing and Offshore Sports. The winners and runners up receiving prizes ranging from bags and sweatshirts to vouchers for £20 .00-£100.00 to use to purchase a new Sola wetsuit.
The owners of the Castlehaven Caravan site were very hospitable. Snacks and hot drinks were very welcome amongst the cold surfers and damp spectators.
FULL LIST OF RESULTS
Longboard Master – Eric Davies
U16 – Nick Dennington
U14 – John Fryer
Junior Longboard – Richard Balding
Open Master – Eric Davies
Comments about South Coast Contest
Oops!! – Everyone saw the ten foot sleeper, bobbing past Castlehaven on Sunday everyone it seemed except for Ray!! CRASH ! Ray did a neat little manoeuvre straight into the path of the king sized log. Consequence, one flattened fin! Must be the underpants!!!!!!!!!!!
Watch out Paul!! – Picture the scene Sunday morning – earlyish! One cafe with stripy awning, one orange VW Camper with Roof Rack. BUMP one cafe without awning, one VW Camper with roof rack and smashing stripy awning. UMM Men Drivers
Testy Rigsy! – Chris – you ‘performed’ really well on Sunday morning, when Big C sent you out to test the paddle out and strong rip. Shame you didn’t ‘perform’ so well in the heats – what happened?
Unlucky – Recently returned from living in Newquay – it was almost a foregone conclusion that with his longboarding skills, Alan Reed would reach the longboard final. Or so it would have seemed. Unfortunately after two unintentional interferences, one in the first heat, and second in the semi’s it was a shame to se him knocked out.
Little’un – Well done to ten year old John Fryer from Brighstone. He was by far the youngest and the smallest competitor in the competition. He surfed in tough conditions over the weekend, but came away with the prize for the best cadet surfer.
BANG, BUMP, CRASH, SMASH – To all those hits and near misses – which involved short boarders, longboarders, surf skiers and bodyboarders – COME TO OFFSHORE SPORTS for all your ding and repair kit needs.
Al Reed’s 5 second hang 5 sequence
When the longboard heats started the heavens open and visibility was really poor, but the standard of surfing certainly wasn’t. The recently crowned British Longboard Masters Champion Al Reed was up against some excelent surfing from Adrian Howell, Pete Symms, Nicolai Roterman and others from the Shore Surf Club but this was the four to progress through the difficult conditions to the final. During the final we were treated to drop knee turns, big floaters and lots of nose time. Right at the end of the final Al caught a wave out the back bringing it right to the beach hanging 5 for about 5 seconds during his ride. Adrian caught a lovely wave, stalled for a little cover up but sadly it was just after the horn had gone for the end of the final. Al Reed becoming the Longboard South Coast Champion with Adrian Howell 2nd, Pete Symms 3rd and Nicolai Roterman 4th.
Congratulations to the Isle of Wigt Surf Club for winning 4 of the 5 divisions and the overall club trophy at the 2011 South Coast Surfing Championships
Winner – 2011 Open South Coast Surfing Champion – James Ranson – IOW Surf Club
Winner – 2011 Masters South Coast Surfing Champion – Joe Truman – IOW Surf Club
Winner – 2011 Longboard South Coast Surfing Champion – Al Reed – IOW Surf Club
Winner – 2011 Junior Boys South Coast Surfing Champion – Robin Forrest – IOW Surf Club
Winner – 2011 Junior Girls South Coast Surfing Champion – Lucy Howell – Shore Surf Club
Congratulations to Al Reed, becoming the 2011 BLU (British Longboard Union) Masters Champion at Gwithian last weekend.
[Al Reed - 2011 BLU Masters Champion]
The fourth and final event of the 2011 British National Longboard Championships was held this weekend at Gwithian Beach in 3ft surf and offshore conditions. With the Open, U18 and Ladies divisions already decided on points by the third round of the series, the last remaining event attracted a good turnout with the runners up of the other divisions fighting for places in the top ten.
Following on from worries resulting from a marginal weather forecast for the weekend, and the likelihood of severe weather on the Sunday, the event was run in one day in what turned out to be highly contestable , albeit cool sunny and windy conditions.
The Masters entry surpassing the Open entry in this hotly contested division.
With only 700 points between 1st and 5th overall, it was all to play for. The event was won by newcomer Alan Reed (Isle of Wight) with Colin Bright (Wales) coming 2nd and Russ Pierre (Sennen) taking 3rd place. Last years Champion, Keeno Keenan( Devon) took 4th Place. This meant that the series winner was Alan Reed with Colin Bright 2nd, Keeno Keenan 3rd and Eric Davies (Devon) 4th .
Full Press Release here;
2011 British National Longboard Championships Press release
With the lack of swell forecast for over the weekend the South Coast Surfing Championships have been postponed until the back up dates of 29-30th October 2011. Anyone with any queries should email the Matt or Oli at the IOW Surf Club.
Today on the other hand saw a lovely little swell to hit the Island and Compton Bay saw many turn up to make the most of it.
ISLE of Wight surfers came out in force to give an emphatic ‘no’ to plans to build a harbour at Freshwater Bay.
Around 150 people, many of them surfers, packed into Sandpipers Hotel to discuss the harbour suggestion put forward by former commercial fisherman and lifeboat crewman, Dick Downes, as a means to provide shelter for local boats, protect the bay from coastal erosion and make it easier to launch the lifeboat in rough conditions.
But the opinion from those who attended Sunday’s public meeting, chaired by Isle of Wight Council member George Cameron, was strongly against the idea.
Surfers Against Sewerage (SAS) said building a harbour wall would destroy one of the Island’s best waves.
Matt Harwood, chairman of the Isle of Wight Surf Club, said after the meeting: “There was a unanimous feeling that it wouldn’t go ahead, which is really positive.”
A Harbour at Freshwater Bay? by Oliver Harvey
[Al Reed at Freshwater Bay last winter]
It was standing room only, with 200+ people filling the function room at the public meeting held Sunday 25th September at The Sandpipers Hotel , to discuss a proposal for a harbour at Freshwater Bay.
The meeting called by Mr.Dick Downes, an Atherfield resident and fisherman, was to determine initial feelings towards the proposal. (details of his proposal can be seen below)
The Freshwater town counciller Mr.George Cameron conducted the meeting with Mr.Downes.
The councillor, (who confessed he was in favour of the proposal ) kept the room, which was at times a little rowdy, in-order and tried to hear everyone’s opinion fairly – but not before a show of hands requested by one attendee at the start of the meeting, quickly established the rooms overwhelming objection.
Objections came from Freshwater residents, holiday home owners, fisherman, local businesses & surfers alike.
The loss of a facility used by a multitude of people for the use of a few
The visual impact to an area of outstanding beauty
A harbour would mean stagnant water and strong smell like seen at Ventnor
The proposed harbour wall height would not be sufficient to offer any protection in big swells – one that would offer protection would have to be 15ft tall.
The complete loss of a surfing wave – touted as one of the best on the south coast of the UK
Those in favour were few and far between, with the only reason given for support was, it would help the launching the Lifeboat boat.
Mr.Downes heard and responded to most points taken in a considered & good natured way and even on some points of objection, he concurred.
If the meeting was obtain opinion from the local residents and to determine, if the proposal should move forward – a vote for this was demanded from the audience.
With approx 95% of the room in opposition –the audience felt another meeting is not needed in the future and the proposal should be forgotten about.
At the end of the meeting Mr.Downes was presented a photograph of Freshwater Bay (taken by local resident & photographer, Paul Blackley) to remind him of its inherent beauty and the fact it is area of natural outstanding beauty.
A Freshwater Bay Harbour?
A few years ago, there was a storm that was not very well forecast, leading to some boats in Freshwater Bay sinking at their moorings.
I thought then that with two natural arms across the entrance of the bay, with the channel deepened for the salvage of the “Carl”, it would be relatively easy to create a small harbour here.
When researching the history of this, I was surprised to learn that about 50 (?) years ago, the Council offered the locals a choice of a breakwater to protect the road, or,….. a harbour! I find it difficult to believe how the choice was made, or even if the story was true, but I have been told that at least one local has a copy of the plan for the proposed harbour?
I think there is a case for a harbour to be built today.
The advantages as I see it would be as follows………………………..
1. Shelter for local boats
2. Would provide protection for the Albion Hotel
3. Make launching the Lifeboat a lot easier in rough conditions
4. Provide a “Harbour of Refuge” for small boats caught out in storms that would make the Needles Channel dangerous
5. The West Wight economy is pretty dire. Building the Harbour (which would be carried out in the winter “off Season” period
6. Also, when built, there would be employment opportunities for small fishing and pleasure boats, a couple of passenger launches doing trips to the Needles, and other marine activities
7. Increased activity in the area, with a busy harbour, would draw more tourists to the area, adding to the income of pubs, hotels, etc…
The only downside I see would be the loss of the Western arm of the current bay toi surfers, who use it occasionally.
Provided the two arms of the harbour wall have a low enough profile, it should not spoil the view.
While I am sure a government and/or EU grant could be found toward the cost, (which will be substantial), I think it would be nice if it was built by the Isle of Wight locals, rather than a big firm that would cream off the profits rather than keep it in local hands.
What we don’t want is a cock up like the Ventnor harbour, which, for its size, and what it cost, to my mind was a complete waste of money!
There will be a meeting held in the Sandpipers Hotel on Sunday 25th at 7pm to see if there is enough interest locally to take this forward.
By (Dick Downes….phone 740712)
Congratulations to the Isle of Wight Surf Club for a very successful Surf Club Paddle Race. The event had a great turn out and was very well supported from the beach. Alan Reed came in winner of the prone surfboard paddle race winning a beautiful wooden Oar and winner of the SUP division was Toby Donbavand.
After a very long day in poor weather and terrible waves Alan Reed finished 6th in the Masters section of the British Longboard Union round 2 at Saunton. The competition started at 8am and went on until 8.30pm in the freezing cold and in blown out conditions. All the best to Al in the next round of the competition at Watergate Bay on the 11/12th June 2011.
In 1996 Southern Water were proposing to build a massive network of pipes to pump all of the Island’s sewage to Yaverland and discharge it through a 3.25kn pipe into Sandown Bay after only giving the sewage Primary Treatment (this means they only actually filter out the big lumps). It was going to cost the in excess of £70 million and cause major disruption to the Island. At that time I was studying part time at the IW College and decided I wanted to try and do something positive about our sea’s around the Island. Being a surfer I had come down with nasty colds, sore throats etc etc.. after surfing at Little Hope Beach or Ventnor. I wrote to many individuals including all the Island councillors, Professors of Biology, HR Prince Charles and many others. I contacted the Surfers Against Sewage who were well aware of Southern Waters proposals and they made me the Islands representative for the SAS. Surfers Against Sewage, along with local people and the IW Surf Club then organised a protest march along Sandown sea front from Yaverland to Sandown Pier to raise awareness of what Southern Water were planning to do. Surfers Against Sewage turned up in wetsuits with the gas masks on, many Island surfers were there, along with hundreds of concerned Islanders.
A huge belated congratulations to Alan Reed for winning Masters of the first event of the 2011 British Longboard Union at Perranporth in mid April.
The competition was blessed with quality waves, great weather and a huge turnout. There were over 80 competitors competing in different divisions in the chunky peaks at Perranporth. The Sunday saw some real quality waves as you can see from Al’s pictures.
The Masters final was between the previous years winner Paul Keenan, Chris Harris of Skindog Surfboards, Vic Danks and Alan Reed. Alan’s effortless style that we all know saw him ease to victory.
Ben Haworth took the open division ripping to victory and overturning an inform Ben Skinner in the final. Ben’s father who had ties to the Island back in the early 80’s recently came to the Island to showcase his movie of ‘Devon Lanes and Longboards’ at our movie night last October.
Event winners were:
Open: Ben Haworth (North Devon)
Ladies: Candice O’Donnell (Newquay)
U18: Josh Le Marquand (Jersey)
U16: Arran Bright (Wales)
1st Alan Reed
2nd Chris Harris
3rd Paul Keenan
4th Vic Danks
Sponsors for this event were;
Watering Hole Beach Bar
Bathsheba Surf shop in Perranporth (Junior Sponsor)
Old Guy’s Rule (Masters Sponsor )
Gul Performance Apparel (Ladies Sponsor )
Hendra Holiday Park
It was a perfect start to the 2011 British Longboard Union Tour and we would like to wish Alan all the best for the rest of the year.
Rapanui Frostbite Surf Series Event 5 May Bank Holiday Monday saw the fifth and final event of the 2010/11 series take place at Sandown. After a poor run of swell no contest took place in April but a fortuitous Easterly wind-swell arrive at the start of May. With strong winds & currents it was going […]